What Fresh Hell Is This?

December 16, 2007

Jack Kelly Sunday

Now THIS is interesting.

Some setup, Jack Kelly is described as a columnist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Toledo Blade and usually, the column found on Sundays in the Post-Gazette is the same exact column found in the Toledo Blade the day before on Saturday. The upside for me is that I get to peek on Saturday at what I'll be blogging about on Sunday morning.

There is a point to all this. A glance at the archives at each paper (P-G, The Blade) should give you a hint as to where I'm going.

This weekend, there are two different columns. Today at the P-G there is a column about the most recent Republican debate in Iowa. J-Kel says it was dull (he quotes fellow Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer's description of it as "transcendingly and crushingly dull.") and then blames it all on the media. There's not much to blog about there except maybe this paragraph:
I had thought it impossible to have a more biased or incompetently managed debate than the CNN-YouTube Republican debate last month, where a third of the questions CNN selected were from Democratic plants -- including a member of Hillary Clinton's Gay and Lesbian Task Force who CNN flew from California to Florida for the occasion -- and most of the rest were from fringe lunatics.
Not really sure where Jack is getting his data, but if it's Michelle Malkin, then he's got some logical problems. All she's shown on that page is that some (let's assume for the sake of the argument that it IS a third) of the questioners are Democrats or at least supporters of one or more of the Democratic candidates. The verb "plant" was used but where is the evidence that those questioners were planted? None is presented to us.

Ed Morrissey over at Captain's Quarters limits the "plants" to one (one!) questioner. By the way the RSCC called Captain's Quarters "five of the best-read national conservative bloggers" in an internet guide this year.
CNN's main failure, and the only real "plant", was General Keith Kerr. They didn't just allow his question, they flew him to the debate, and then allowed him almost as much screen time as Duncan Hunter to make a speech.
General Kerr, it was found, is on Senator Clinton's steering committee for LGBT issues. In an analysis of both youtube debates, the LATimes wrote:

Retired Brig. Gen. Keith Kerr, who is gay, had asked the candidates why gays and lesbians shouldn't be allowed to serve openly in the military. Kerr is a member of a steering committee for Clinton on gay and lesbian issues.

Although the retired military man and Clinton's camp said the Democratic candidate had nothing to do with the question, CNN apologized. David Bohrman, executive producer of the debate, said the network wanted to avoid "gotcha" questions from clear Democratic partisans and would not have allowed the query if it had known of Kerr's ties to the Clinton campaign.

Ok, fine. But how was he a plant?

CNN officials did say that for both debates no attempt was made to determine the party affiliation of any of the questioners - they were just looking for lively questions.

But I am getting off-topic. Yesterday's column in the Toledo Blade was prime Jack Kelly. Myth and misinformation wrapped up into one tasty propaganda enchilada. So much more fun to deconstruct Jack's spin on the NIE, so I think I'll work there instead.


J-Kel begins:

“BLOWBACK” is an intelligence term for adverse, unintended consequences of secret operations. The CIA first used it in a report on the 1953 operation that overthrew the government of Mohammed Mossadegh in Iran.

Some in the intelligence community have been working with liberal journalists and Democrats on Capitol Hill to embarrass President Bush and to stymie his foreign policy initiatives.

The most successful of these covert operations was the Valerie Plame affair, in which White House officials were falsely blamed for “outing” a CIA undercover officer who was not in fact undercover. (It was then Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage who inadvertently disclosed Ms. Plame’s identity.)

Oh, my. This will be fun.

Ok, lets do this again. In documents filed in U.S District Court by Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, we read:
At the time of the initial unauthorized disclosure in the media of Ms. Wilson's employment relationship with the CIA 14 July 2003, Ms Wilson was a covert CIA employee for whom the CIA was taking affirmative measures to conceal her intelligence relationship to the United States.
A few paragraphs later, after outlining the CIA's determination to declassify Plame's status, we read:

This determination means that the CIA declassified and now publicly acknowledges the previously classified fact that Ms Wilson was a CIA employee from 1 January 2002 forward and the previously classified fact that she was a covert CIA employee during this period.

She was covert so it follows that all the rest of it (White House officials being falsely accused and so on) is just bunk. Doesn't ANYONE fact-check Jack Kelly at the Toledo Blade either?

We could spend all day writing about Jack's laughable spin defense of the outing of Valerie Plame (it's a CIA plot? REALLY??), but let's move on. Here's Jackie
The most recent is the new National Intelligence Estimate, which concluded Iran suspended its nuclear weapons program in 2003 and hasn’t resumed it. Michael Ledeen, a former consultant to the National Security Council, described the NIE as “policy advocacy masquerading as serious intelligence.”
This has to be embarrassing for Jack. Only this Thursday at a Press Briefing with Dana Perino at the White House there was this interchange:

Q So was that statement -- to draw from that that the President is fully confident in the information contained in the NIE?

MS. PERINO: Look, the NIE -- the President accepted the results of the NIE

And who was this "Michael Ledeen" person Jack Kelly was using as a source? Along with being a "former consultant" he's a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Intstitute and contributing editor of the National Review. So you know he'll be unbiased in his analysis.

He's also been a long time cheerleader for Bush's war in Iraq. AND he's also dallied abit in some weird conspiracy theories. Take this from March of 2003. Ledeen was writing about the balance of power in a post-Soviet world. The US is left as a "hyperpower" unchallenged militarily across the globe and the French and Germans hate that. So the plan? Take a look at what Ledeen comes up with:

No military operation could possibly defeat the United States, and no direct economic challenge could hope to succeed. That left politics and culture. And here there was a chance to turn America's vaunted openness at home and toleration abroad against the United States. So the French and the Germans struck a deal with radical Islam and with radical Arabs: You go after the United States, and we'll do everything we can to protect you, and we will do everything we can to weaken the Americans.

The Franco-German strategy was based on using Arab and Islamic extremism and terrorism as the weapon of choice, and the United Nations as the straitjacket for blocking a decisive response from the United States.

Yea, this is the guy you want to quote about world affairs.

After running down his NIE arguments, Jack trots out the CIA tape-erasing scandal. True to form, he writes this:
Abu Zubaydah and Abd Rahim al Nashiri allegedly were subjected to waterboarding, a technique which simulates drowning that the CIA calls a “harsh interrogation technique,” but which many in Congress call “torture.”
Only "many in Congress"? Let's see just who else calls waterboarding "torture." Well, this guy, for one. Judge Evan Wallach write this in the Washington Post this past November:
The United States knows quite a bit about waterboarding. The U.S. government -- whether acting alone before domestic courts, commissions and courts-martial or as part of the world community -- has not only condemned the use of water torture but has severely punished those who applied it.
Wallach brings up some clear examples:

As a result of such accounts, a number of Japanese prison-camp officers and guards were convicted of torture that clearly violated the laws of war. They were not the only defendants convicted in such cases. As far back as the U.S. occupation of the Philippines after the 1898 Spanish-American War, U.S. soldiers were court-martialed for using the "water cure" to question Filipino guerrillas.

More recently, waterboarding cases have appeared in U.S. district courts. One was a civil action brought by several Filipinos seeking damages against the estate of former Philippine president Ferdinand Marcos. The plaintiffs claimed they had been subjected to torture, including water torture. The court awarded $766 million in damages, noting in its findings that "the plaintiffs experienced human rights violations including, but not limited to . . . the water cure, where a cloth was placed over the detainee's mouth and nose, and water producing a drowning sensation."

And then there's this:
In 1983, federal prosecutors charged a Texas sheriff and three of his deputies with violating prisoners' civil rights by forcing confessions. The complaint alleged that the officers conspired to "subject prisoners to a suffocating water torture ordeal in order to coerce confessions. This generally included the placement of a towel over the nose and mouth of the prisoner and the pouring of water in the towel until the prisoner began to move, jerk, or otherwise indicate that he was suffocating and/or drowning."

The four defendants were convicted, and the sheriff was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Is there any more doubt? But to Jack, our Jack, it's only "many in Congress" call it torture.

I could keep going, but I have to wonder WHY such a fact-deprived column was published in the Toledo Blade and yet NOT published in the Post-Gazette.

Any readers who also work at the P-G are, as always, free to drop me a line on this. Confidentiality is assured.


Bram Reichbaum said...

I wonder if something like it was published in that Canadian Guardian newspaper he so frequently lifts material from. I wonder also if he kept it out of Pittsburgh to keep it away from you.

dayvoe said...


While it would do my otherwise fragile and battered ego some good to assume that Jack Kelly had one column published in Pittsburgh and another published in Toledo just to insulate himself from my blog postings, I can't actually believe that that's the case.

It assumes a much much greater level of importance than I can really imagine. While I am told that my Kelly analyses do make the rounds over there at the P-G, I'm also told that none of it makes any difference to Commando Kelly.

It's still a mystery, however.